Latvia’s president has signed off the Law of Public Electronic Media and its Management.
It will come into effect on January 1 and, according to Ivars Abolins, chairman of the National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP), be “a step towards more efficient management and sustainable development of public media”.
At the same time, he emphasised that “it is essential to set up a Public Electronic Media Council as soon as possible, the first priority of which will be to start predictable and sustainable long-term planning and development”.
Abolins pointed out that the law is important for the development of the media environment by separating the functions of the media supervisor and the holder of public media shares. For the function of the shareholder of public media, it envisages the establishment of a separate Council of Public Electronic Media (SEPLP), which will be able to fully and efficiently perform the function of the shareholder. In its turn, the NEPLP will be able to fully perform the function of media supervisor and industry developer. The separation of these functions will, on the one hand, strengthen the monitoring and development of the Latvian media environment and, on the other hand, the management and development of public media.
The new law also clarifies the principles of public procurement and the principles of public media.
Aurelija Ieva Druviete, deputy chairman of NEPLP, added: “The establishment of a statutory ombudsman for public electronic media is also important for the development of journalism. It creates a link between the media and society and promotes responsible journalism. World practice shows that the Ombudsman, by analysing issues of journalistic ethics, raises awareness of quality and ethical journalism and strengthens the tradition of journalism in the country, as well as raising awareness of what kind of journalism we as a society expect. This is especially important in this age of false news and disinformation”.